To All AMIEU Members at Somerville Retail Services September 2010

3 September 2010


Finally we have had a victory at your workplace!
After at least 10 years of obstruction by the Company trying to stop workers from meeting Union officials in the lunch room at meal breaks, Fair Work Australia has ordered the Company to give the Union access to the lunch room.

Commissioner Roe handed down this decision on 1st September 2010.  He made the comment that meeting with workers in a staff area in a small training room was not appropriate.  The Commissioner visited SRS on 26th August.  After witnessing the workplace himself he agreed with the Union that the appropriate site to meet with workers at SRS would be the lunch room. 

He accepted on the evidence that employees might feel apprehensive about entering the administration area, given that they would not usually be there and that they would be observed by managers. Restricting the Union organiser to the training room might also mean employees would not realise he was on the site, a factor the Union argued could be overcome if they could use the lunch room.

The Commissioner said the requirement for employees to inform their supervisor when and why they were leaving the production area added further difficulty and meant they were required to expend “considerable effort” to meet with the Union.

“Taking into account all of the evidence and the circumstances I am satisfied that the location of the training room in the administration area acts as a discouragement to employees to attend discussions with the AMIEU.

I am also satisfied that if access were to be arranged in the other alternative location available, the meal room, then it would be less of a discouragement and it would be much more convenient for employees who wish to hold discussions with (the organiser)” he said.

The Company has spent thousands of dollars on a legal team of barristers and solicitors trying to stop workers gaining proper access to Union organisers. The Union believes this money would have been better spent on pay rises and better conditions for SRS workers.

See you in the lunch room soon


Collin Ross
AMIEU Organiser